Most people around the globe are now learning Chinese so that they can be able to communicate with a large number of Chinese citizens working in different parts of the world. Chinese languages, especially Mandarin, is becoming important as the world is shaping to embrace China as one of the superpowers in the world economy. A large number of the United States students have enrolled in various Chinese programs to equip themselves with both reading and writing in Chinese.
However, a significant number of people have already mastered the essential reading and writing aspects, which are used in formal areas. The problem arises when it comes to communicating with people who have mastered the language. It is different in diction and articulation, which has been known to bring significant differences in meaning. Other variations are arising in informal communication as people who have mastered these languages know how to incorporate aspects of literature in their sentences.
It is common to find assonance, metaphors, and idioms in a person who has excellent skills in this language. Informal communication is beneficial as it is what you will be using to communicate with your friends and other Chinese-speaking people in the streets. Therefore, you need to understand how to use the idioms so that your communication can be fluent. An easy way to learn Chinese idioms includes using them on a regular basis and asking for meaning if you hear someone use an idiom. Here are some common expression and their meaning which will keep you going.
• 九牛一毛 (jiǔ niú yì máo)
The literal meaning of this idiom is ‘nine cows and one strand of cow hair.’ This is a commonly used Chinese idiom that refers to something very small that it can barely make a difference. The direct meaning means that one strand of hair can barely cover nine cows. An example of this idiom in a sentence would be that the profits generated by e-commerce platforms are just a drop in the profits made by other industries in China.
• 脚踏实地 (jiǎo tà shí dì)
The literal meaning of this idiom is stepping on a solid foundation. This idiom means that you have to work hard and focus on the things that matter in your work, profession, or education so that you can attain your goals. Sentence example. If we want to win the upcoming tournament, we need to stay grounded and focus on our strengths.
• 一无所有 (yìwúsuǒyǒu)
This is an idiom that is used to express a situation where you are penniless or when you have nothing to show. It is commonly used to demonstrate the state of poverty among individuals. Sentence example. My uncle was penniless before moving to the east coast.
• 津津有味 (jīn jīn yǒu wèi)
This is a commonly used idiom, especially in the eateries, where it means to eat something deliciously. Other individuals use the same idiom when performing other activities, especially when they find them attractive and engaging. You don’t use this idiom on yourself, but you can use it to describe something that your friends or colleagues as it shows compassionate and use of friendly tone. Sentence example. He is deliciously munching the lunchtime bread.
• 全力以赴 (quán lì yǐ fù)
This is an idiom that is used to express where you have given your best, especially when performing a particular task. Although this idiom is commonly used in formal speech, it can also be used across the streets and in other public gatherings. It is highly recommended to individuals who have exerted their strength, knowledge, and skills when trying to achieve a particular goal. This idiom is used to highlight and explain the actions that have not been achieved but in which a person tried to achieve. Sentence example. He needs to give it all if he wants to pass the interview process.
• 乱七八糟 (luàn qī bā zāo)
This is an idiom that is used to explain something that is in a total mess. Mostly used to describe a despicable state of affairs. Most of the people who commonly use this idiom used to explain abstract nouns such as messed up life or concrete nouns such as messy residential properties.
• 不可思议 (bù kě sī yì)
This is an idiom that is commonly used to describe things that are amazing in an unexpected way. Something that is worthy can also be described through this idiom. In mainland China, this idiom is used to indicate something magic while Taiwan and other regions that speak Cantonese use this idiom to describe a larger phenomenon. Sentence example. It is amazing how we share the same date of birth.
• 豁然开朗 (huò rán kāi lǎng)
This is one of the many Chinese idioms that has two different but interlinked meanings. The first meaning involves the feeling that individuals get when they encounter something beautiful. The good feeling is brought out due to the fact that you were not feeling so good before you saw the beautiful thing. The second meaning is commonly used to explain something extraordinary, mostly a Eureka moment. Mostly used to explain something that has an Aha! Feeling. Sentence example. Before John used Mac to design logos, he did not know that he had some hidden potential that would take him to the next level.
• 抛砖引玉 (pāo zhuān yǐn yù)
This is an idiom that is used to communicate an opinion or idea in a humble manner. Most of the people who use this idiom are considered polite and respectful to whomever they are communicating with. In a simple English, it’s something like, I am giving this garbage idea, but I know it will be useful in one way or another. A considerable number of people use this idiom when they are contributing to a conversation that has professional experts. Sentence example. I know that this idea is half baked; I am just airing an opinion for that matter.
Some of the idioms discussed above are commonly used by those people who have mastered this language. It is also common to find other Chinese-language students trying to use some of these idioms, which is an easy way to learn Chinese idioms. There are many other idioms in the Chinese language sometimes even more than you have in your English language. This means that the ideas discussed are just but a drop in the ocean. However, you need to start somewhere before you can become an expert. These idioms will provide a reliable base that you can use to communicate effectively and understand Mandarin in a better way.